Division 47 The High King's Abomination

By Joanna E Sears

© Monster Zoo Enterprises

A/N: Hylbian Celtic language derivative.

Chapter Two

The joint agencies had set up a Base Camp, in a forest clearing, just beyond the Town of Elkhorn. Tony shivered as he alighted from the truck. The whole place freaked him out. He couldn't explain it he'd never been to Wisconsin before. Yet! The area seem familiar. He shivered a second time then groaned as he beheld the tent city being erected. Luckily all the members of the Walingham team had their own equipment and so were directed to an empty area on the west side of the camp. Oliver was pleased to note his brother had refrained from showing off his wealth and had opted for a small non-descript tent similar to the ones the other members of the team owned. Leaving his people to sort themselves out Oliver went across to the Command Marquee, to make himself known to the leaders and get a full update on the situation.

When he returned he rounded up his team and steered them across to the mess tent. Tony wasn't sure what the concoction being doled out was but he was certain it wasn't food. He replaced the tin tray in the rack then tried to slip past the serving area and head back to his tent. He almost made it but then his brother grabbed his arm.

"Where are you going?"

"I'm not hungry," Tony prevaricated. It was half true. The disgusting brown gloop was about as appetizing as a dead skunk." Oliver frowned then softly snarled

"Listen up little brother! You maybe used to the fine restaurants in Dallas, but out here you eat the same as everyone else. I won't stand for you throwing one of your Prima Donna tantrums and embarrassing me. Now pick up that tray and get in line!" Tony aware people were watching obeyed. But inwardly he seethed and redoubled his determination to get the Director's assignment rescinded. After all he had a lot of friends in high places and often played Golf with the Governor. He accepted a plate from the Army chef but didn't thank him. Tony was deep in thought. Half of him wished the kidnapper would snatch his brother

"And you can bet your last dollar I wouldn't hurry to save him." he mentally told himself.

Outside it was growing dark. It was already an hour past sunset. Tony sensed an air of nervousness descend over the camp. Armed sentries patrolled the perimeter. The army seemed to have accepted responsibility for this job. Tony followed the others back to their bivouac he again felt uneasy. He just couldn't shake the feeling that he'd been here before even though he knew he hadn't. He finally put it down to being tired after a long stressful day

He was glad to slide into his tent and relax in his quilted sleeping bag. Relieved he had his own and wasn't forced to borrow an army issue. If their equipment was anything like their food it was a miracle half the country's troops hadn't died. He rolled over and reached for tiny Percy the only constant in his life. He wasn't aware of falling asleep but he suddenly jerked awake from outside people were yelling. Three of the sentries were firing guns at the tree line. From every tent people began emerging. The shape flittering between the arc lights was fast and big. Tony felt his stomach lurch he knew that smell it was unmistakable. It was the stench that had pervaded his dreams for more years than he cared to remember.

"Our guns aren't having any effect," he heard a young soldier say. The voice was laced with fear. The camp was ablaze of light and yet the creature still advanced into it. The private was right, bullets just seemed to bounce off the creature's hide. Suddenly! Tony heard his old Grandfather's voice in his head and the ancient knowledge flowered in his mind He ran forward pulling his sword from its scabbard. The glare from the lights reflected off it the sheen of the blade and more importantly illuminating the precious gem embedded in the hilt. To the astonishment of everyone as Tony swung it above his head a resonant hum filled the air.

The creature suddenly cowered. Its triumphant roaring died and it, retreated but only for a few feet. Taking his assailant by surprise the huge Leonine bounced back. A great clawed arm swung around and caught Tony a staggering blow. He flew upwards, then crashed down hard

on to some wooden pallets. He lay stunned for a few seconds the breath knocked out of him. An Army Colonel leapt forward and snatched up Hylbian swinging it wildly he lunged at the beast. But the sword no longer sang nor did the jewel glow. The monster yanked it from his hand and cast it aside. A third defender lifted it up but again it had no effect and the monster hurled it and the holder away. Oliver couldn't believe what he was seeing. Disbelief flooded through him.

"Oh god!" he muttered "The stories were true. Tony really does carry the bloodline." Keeping low he scooted across to the fallen weapon grabbing it he sneaked sideways to where his brother lay gasping.

"Get up!" he ordered "You're not badly hurt. So get up and fight. Fight like you were born to!" His stern words had the desired effect. Tony rolled sideways onto his knees Oliver forced the sword into his hand. Then shoved him forward. "Go on! Prove your damn Grandfather right and

me wrong. Go on damn it. Fight!"

Tony's fist curled around the hilt of Hylbian and inhaling hard he again ran at the beast. The creature had thought him incapacitated now it realised its mistake. It tried to fend of the needle sharp blade. This time it really did retreat but all the way it swung its deadly claws at the smaller being. The years of persistent training now came to the fore Tony easily evaded the swiping talons He was gaining the upper hand he jabbed his sword at the creature and feeling a strange warmth flow over his hand knew the tip had penetrated the monster's thickened hide. He pressed his advantage driving the giant back to the forest but at the camp's edge he paused, no one else followed the monster, either. Clearly it wasn't safe to chase the beast in the dark. He heard someone say that the Navy Squad included a Cherokee Tracker. A skilled reader of signs who would be able to pick up the creature's trail once it was daylight. But at that moment every eye was, focused on Tony. Medics were already moving to attend to the wounded. Oliver was crouching beside Tom. The creature had made a grab for him. He had eluded it. But had been closer enough, to be clawed. He had a, blood gushing hole in his right shoulder he wasn't the only casualty, seven others had sustained injuries. Two life threatening. All eight were despatched to the field hospital. Prior to being flown home in the morning. Oliver escorted his man to the hospital tent then sought out his brother. He was sitting outside his tent, now the initial attack was over he was feeling decidedly queasy. Oliver walked over to him.

"Go back to bed you're exhausted."

"I'm fine!" Oliver grimaced. He didn't want to but felt he had no choice.

"We're going to need you in peak form tomorrow so go and get some sleep." Tony obeyed but as he entered his tent Oliver heard him curse his name. He sighed there was a lot of bad blood between him and his brother. The older Walingham suddenly wished he hadn't let jealousy rule his actions all those years before. It would take a hell of a lot to spark even a modicum of friendship in his younger brother now.

He ran! Galloped! Fled! For the first time, in Centuries, he was afraid. The line was unbroken

Pure! He knew! He could smell it. The bloodline line had descended unsullied from ancient times. The trees grew thicker his pace slowed as he reached more familiar territory. The

entrance to his lair loomed. Twisting, dark, its paths winding downward. Unknown to all, but him. He had built it himself. Designed it like his home of yore. He shuffled inside and sought out it deepest, most secret, inner, sanctuary. Panting and shaking the Beast sank onto a pile of ferns. A fetid, decaying, smell rose from them. Giving him some comfort but not much.

The descendant would come! He knew he would come. So would the others. Men!

He spat at the very thought of them. They were nothing to him. No better than vermin. Food!

That's all they were fit for! Their fiery sticks could not penetrate his hide but the Descendant was different. He bore the Hylbian. Its steel would pierce his flesh. Merlin's Eye would light up the darkness that had long, shaded him, from the eyes of his enemies. The beast trembled. Did he have the Sleeping Scurrier too? The treasured pet of the Oak King? The beast trembled. He had to ready himself. Prepare to, once again, do battle with the Chosen of the Gods. But just like before he would prevail.

It was morning Oliver and the other leaders gathered in the command tent. Tony nervously, hovered in one corner Alice and Martin stood beside him he was glad of their presence. After the attack he was being seen, as something more than the poncy writer guy. He alone had driven off the creature. But how had he managed to overcome something that the rest of them were helpless against? Oliver had forcibly parted Tony from his sword. Promising to return it quickly. The Army Colonel passed it to his adjutant. He was an expert in Medieval Warfare and Weaponry. Lieutenant Ellis peered down the blade and balanced it across his palm.

"It doesn't seem that special. I'd even go so far as to say it's not real. My guess is it probably reflected the arclight straight into the monster's eyes, blinding it!" He looked round and then passed the sword back to Tony. Colonel Roberts nodded his agreement.

"We'll issue all our people with fire burning brands as a precaution when we go after it."

A young warrant officer entered. He coughed awkwardly and when the leaders turned to look at him, saluted!

"We've finished interviewing the, relevant, personnel sir." He handed forward a sheaf of papers.

Oliver took them. He laid them out on the table for all the Team Leaders, to read at the same time. The report wasn't exactly helpful. Only a hand full had managed to get a good look at the creature that had attacked them. The Sketch Artists were trying to make sense of the differing descriptions looking for commonalties. All agreed the monster was big and fast. That it had claws was a given. The injuries sustained, by the casualties testified to that but its other features were baffling. Over half of those, close enough to actually get a full view of it, insisted its face was elongated and snout like. Several said it reminded them of a dog. But three were sure, it had, had horns and a long red/brown mane. Even more bizarre was the opinion of the Cherokee Tracker. He said the prints it left, were those of cow or a goat. But one that walked upright? Which was impossible! Oliver stared down at the picture the Senior Artist had produced.

"What the hell is it?"

"Beats the hell out of me." Tangle inched her way forward for the first time and peeped over the shoulder of the smaller Colonel. She gave a loud shocked squeal.

"It can't be!" Virtually everyone in the tent, turned to stare at her. Oliver frowned.

"Tangle? Do you know what this is?" She was shaking her head and muttering

"It's not possible! It can't be!"

"Tangle!" Oliver's voice sharpened, jolting her out of her shock. "What is it?"

"A myth? A legend! A ravening monster from ancient times!"

"But what is it?" Martin had taken advantage of the distraction of the leaders, to take a look at the sketch, now he answered for her.

"My God! Its a Minotaur!" A furious debate broke out. Alice Russell was at the forefront of it. Besides being a Medical Examiner and a Psychological Profiler she had a keen interest in the Classics. Including Greek Mythology she now decried the assumption that the beast was a Minotaur.

"There was only ever one," she insisted. "And it was killed by Theseus, in the Labyrinth at

Knossos!" Tony raised his head at the word Labyrinth. Oliver picked up the Artist's impression.

"Alice! This is based on the testimony of the witnesses, and even the Tracker says the creature has hooves."

"He said the prints could be from a cloven footed animal. That is not definitive proof."

Alice replied. "And I would point out that whatever attacked this camp moved too fast, for anyone, to get a clear and distinct look at it."

"All right," Roberts intervened. "What do you think it is?" Alice sighed

"In truth! I don't know. But the conflicting reports suggest it has a way of camouflaging itself.

Perhaps by projecting differing images, into the minds of its victims or even."

"Or even what?" The Senior Air-Force Officer felt he ought to join the conversation.

"Manipulating its own form."

"Pardon me?" Oliver was completely at a loss. Ancient Greek Monsters were bad enough.

But now his normal, rational, friend was making such bizarre statements. Oliver's mind was close to going into melt down as Alice continued

"I mean we could be facing a creature that can change its shape at will. All we do know is that intense light disorientates it." So far, the young Sheriff of Elkhorn County had been content to just listen to and follow the directives of the more experienced Federal Agents. But now he felt the need to speak.

"If it is afraid of light. It would explain, why all the attacks have taken place at night?"

It was a fact that the others had overlooked." Now their heads swivelled round to regard the man. Oliver looked down at him.

"How many attacks have there been?" He held his ground and met Oliver's stern gaze.

"Not counting last night and the military disappearances. There have been nineteen, unexplained disappearances and a spate of cattle mutilations, going back over thirty years," he paused for a slurp of coffee then continued. "But there are legends of something, terrorizing the area around Bray Road and Devil's lake that stem from a time, before the colonization of America. The local Algonquin tribe tell many stories relating to some great evil that haunts these woods." Oliver raised his eyes to heaven

"Great!" He muttered to himself. "First Greek Myths and now a crazy, shape shifting, Indian Demon. How much worse is this going to get?" Tony stood up and walked forward. He didn't want to contradict so many experts but they had to know what they were really facing.

"It is not a Minotaur," he said forcing his voice to sound more confident than he felt.

Oliver glanced round at him then remembered that Tony's other Grandfather has always considered him special. A boy destined for greatness. Oliver had remembered how he often cautioned their father to keep him safe protected." At the time Oliver had been consumed with envy but now he wondered how much had been the old man's love for his youngest grandchild and how much was truth. After all his kinship to him aside Tony had six other Siblings. The old adage 'The Seventh Son of a Seventh Son' flitted through his brain. Aloud Oliver assumed the role of Tony's superior.

"Alright what do you think it is?"

"The High King's Abomination!"

"What? What's that supposed to mean?" Roberts blustered

"I think it's Mordred!"

"Oh yeah! That really helps," the Colonel growled. "What is a Mordred?"

"Not a Mordred! The Mordred! The Bastard spawn of King Arthur and his Sister Morgana."

Tangle made a horrified sound. Several people including Oliver turned to look at her

"Can I gather from your response that this is even worse than a Minotaur?" She nodded

"Way worse. If it is Mordred he's immortal only one thing can kill him and only one person can wield the weapon. Colonel Roberts eyed Tony

"Am I right in supposing that would be you with the blade at your side?" Tony blushed as he nodded. Alice then added

"But it can't be done just anywhere. We have to lure Mordred onto sanctified ground."

"What like a church?" Before she could answer the Cherokee spoke up

"Devil's Lake is considered sacred to my people would that count?" Alice shrugged

"It might after all the Arthurian legends are Pre-Christian.

That there wasn't a lot more they could do as yet having been driven off once. The beast, whatever it was? Was unlikely to try and take them on again, any time soon. But they weren't impervious to the danger and the number of sentries was doubled. Oliver also ordered large fires to be built roughly ten feet apart all around the camp's perimeter, in preparation for the coming night.

They were half right. The creature wasn't going to face them head on again. At least not until he had a bargaining tool. The long years of his existence, had taught him a few things.

The most important of which was the blood ties the humans had. A mother would die for its infant, and a father could be used to weaken a son. He walked back towards the Man Camp and sniffed. He was right there was a second scent. Not pure like the descendant but kin to him

Kin that could utilized

Tony sat on his camp bed, stroking Percy. The old toy calmed him. But at the same time, seemed to `imbue him with a confidence he thought he'd lost long ago. For some reason his grandfather's face rose in his mind. He remembered how he'd said that Percy would one day lead him to his destiny.

Not far away from the covering shelter of the trees it watched waited for its chance.

He dreamed again that night. But not of the hideous terror that had haunted him since infancy. No this time the dream was soft, comforting. He saw his Grandfather, he wore a golden crown and was garbed as the knights of old. They seemed to be on a plateau looking down over lush green valley. His grandsire stood facing him, illuminated from behind. By the silver glow of a full moon. He raised his arms and Tony ran to them. The man stroked his hair crooning his name. Whispering endearments. Just as he had, in life.

"My little Tony. My precious Tony." But after a while he began to talk.

"You must beware blood of my blood. The Abomination seeks to weaken you. Do not let his wiles distract you. Arthurian blood run's unsullied in your veins. Do not disappoint your forebears. Now is the time to regain our family's honour and wipe Morgana's Sorcerous Sin from this Earth." He again stroked his hair

"You must keep my servant close to you. Heed well the counsel of Silver Star. But do not let him set aside the Air Singer. She alone can speak the words to awaken the Sleeping Scurrier. He will guide you through the Labyrinth. His paws are soft, he treads without sound." Tony felt his Grandfather's arms tighten about him and his words became urgent.

"The Eastern Assassin will need the light of the Merlyn's Eye for his arrows to fly true."

"Who are you?" Tony found he could speak. But before his grandfather could answer the

moon suddenly seemed to grow brighter. It engulfed Tony and his grandfather. He clutched at the old man's hand but it slipped from his grasp

"Keep him safe Tony! Keep the Scurrier by your side!" His words were fading.

"Don't leave! Please! Don't leave me again!" But the light now pulsed ever brighter. Tony scrunched up his eyes, squinting against, the painful brightness.

"Don't leave me!" he begged.

"You're dreaming wake up!" It a different voice penetrated his vision and a strong hand shook him. "Wake up before you disturb the whole camp with your ramblings," Tony sat up and blinked several times. Try to gather his wits and make sense of the dream. Oliver became more

business like.

"Since you're awake hit the showers then the mess tent. I want to hold an early briefing

Tony yawned and stretched. Then winced as he banged his elbow on a metal tent support.

"Somebody really needs to redesign these things." He griped to Percy. He decided against washing, although a large part of him, longed for a nice hot shower. He'd seen the facilities JAG had set up and instantly decided to forego that torture unless he really got grubbied up.

Rhys and Samantha joined him just outside the mess tent. He was glad of their support but still blushed furiously as he entered with them. Today he wasn't subjected to a barrage of snide remarks more admiring ones. The trio headed towards what was becoming the, accepted SNO table. Martin Tangle and Alice had their heads together, bent over a large book. In fact they had several open. Alice looked up and smiled at the newcomers then indicated the other woman at her side.

"Tangle thinks she may know way to slow the monster down. Take away his speed advantage,

so we might be able to get a shot at it." Tony bit into a slice of cold toast as he sat down.

"Oh!" He looked to the Wind Chanter then his eyes widened. Wind Chanter - Air Singer? His Grandfather's word echoed in his mind. She didn't seem to notice his shock she tapped her book. "There are a great many Grimoires written about Demons and how to deal with them."

"So we're calling it a demon then. Not a Minotaur."

"Yes I think we have to accept it probably is Mordred." Alice sighed and in a patient voice repeated

"Tangle I've checked Mordred was killed at the battle of Camlannis."

"That is the official story!"

"And what is the unofficial story?" Oliver laid down a tray.

"He escaped with the help of the Lord of the Orkneys and a contingent of men from the North."

"Men from the North? Do you mean Vikings?" Rhys looked inordinately pleased with himself at knowing this. Oliver's eyes narrowed he recalled an article he'd read on the Internet

"Just lately a group of Archaeologists have been decrying Columbus as the discoverer of the Americas. They have produced evidence of wreck off the coast of Virginia that looks a lot like an early form of a Viking Longship." His words silenced the entire tent. People moved closer to listen to the theories being put forward as to the origin of the attacker.

Oliver was feeling further and further out of his depth. "Give him a good old fashioned Perp with a gun and he was happy. But demons and God spawned monsters. He frowned he'd investigated hundreds of SNO related cases all bar three had turned out to be mundane cases of regular criminals. But this latest one was giving him the Heebie Jeebies. Oliver wondered if it was because this case involved his brother?

TBC